January First 3D Calendar

The 10 Best Premier League Signings Ever in the January Transfer Window

The carnival of the transfer window is over until summer and as seems to be an annual or perhaps biannual event, records have been smashed. In total Premier League clubs have spent £2.8bn in the 2022/23 season, doubling the previous record set in 2017. Records were also set for deadline day itself (£275m) and the January window (£815m).

The winter window has often been portrayed as a tricky time to do business, with the best players rarely available or overpriced. It is of course too early to tell whether the likes of Enzo Fernandez, signed by Chelsea for a British record £107m, or his new club colleague Mykhailo Mudryk, will be flops or roaring successes. However, in this feature we look back at the best-ever January signings that have been made during the January transfer window.

Seamus Coleman

Year From To Transfer Fee
2009 Sligo Rovers Everton £60,000

Coleman is an Everton legend who has made almost 400 appearances for the Toffees despite not always having the best luck with injuries in his 14 years on Merseyside. A brilliant right-back, he stayed loyal to the Blues when bigger clubs came calling and was named in the PFA Team of the Year for 2013/14. He was superb going forward but also a top defender unafraid to get stuck in. Coleman’s terrace chant (“Sixty grand, sixty grand, Seamus Coleman”) highlights his astounding value for money and for that alone he merits his inclusion on this list.

Philippe Coutinho

Year From To Transfer Fee
2013 Inter Milan Liverpool £8.5m

Many Liverpool fans were distraught when their Brazilian attacker moved to Barcelona, yielding the club a handsome profit of around £100m. However, that only serves to illustrate what a brilliant signing the man from Rio was. He also made the PFA Team of the Year (in 2015) and his guile, movement, ball-striking and ability to beat a man made him a huge threat for the Reds. He scored so many brilliant goals but was prolific too, notching 54 for Liverpool from 201 appearances, mainly playing as an attacking midfielder.

Luis Suarez

Year From To Transfer Fee
2011 Ajax Liverpool £23m

Suarez played alongside Coutinho and, like the Brazilian, eventually moved to Barcelona, delivering a nice profit to the Reds’ coffers. However, Liverpool fans will remember his goals (in 2013/14 he bagged a record 31 Premier League goals to land the European Golden Shoe alongside Cristiano Ronaldo), fighting spirit, passion and chutzpah. The Uruguayan was deadly in front of goal but had incredible skill too, Liverpool fans joking that he could nutmeg a mermaid! He was a controversial figure but there is no denying his brilliance on the pitch, or that he made £23m look like a steal!

Virgil van Dijk

Year From To Transfer Fee
2018 Southampton Liverpool £75m

That the towering Dutch centre back was able to make a world record fee for a defender look like peanuts within months is testament to the impact VVD had at Liverpool. At 6ft 5in he moved like Rolls Royce and his combination of strength, size, pace and brilliant reading of the game was exactly what Liverpool needed. In 2018/19 he won countless individual awards, including being crowned UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. Liverpool fans spoke of him, not entirely unreasonably, as the greatest defender to ever play the game and for a couple of seasons he really was that good. He was central to Liverpool’s 2019/20 Premier League title success and replacing him will be a huge task in the coming years.

Nemanja Vidic

Year From To Transfer Fee
2006 Spartak Moscow Manchester United £7m

We are done with Liverpool transfers but not yet with top-class centre backs who helped their clubs achieve great glories. With Rio Ferdinand, he formed arguably the greatest centre back pairing in the history of the Premier League. That Vidic cost less than a quarter of the fee that Ferdinand did, four years later too, really shows what a cracking signing he was. They were the perfect duo: Ferdinand smooth and silky, Vidic fearless, rugged and at times terrifying.

However, we should not dismiss his sheer class – he is one of just four players to have claimed the PL Player of the Season crown twice. With the other players being Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Kevin De Bruyne, we get some idea of just how good the Serbian was.

Patrice Evra

Year From To Transfer Fee
2006 Monaco Manchester United £5.5m

Signing Evra and Vidic for £12.5m in January 2006 ranks among the best January windows by a single club. For little more than Cristiano Ronaldo currently earns in two and a half months, Sir Alex Ferguson reshaped his defence with two world-class defenders. Evra was a leader in the dressing room and a man his manager loved, as well as being a brilliant defender who offered pace going forward too. Evra won 10 major trophies with United, including five PL titles and the 2007/08 Champions League.

Bruno Fernandes

Year From To Transfer Fee
2020 Sporting Lisbon Manchester United £47m

Fernandes is a player opposition fans hate and whilst his demeanour and petulance are highly irritating, there is no doubting his skill, vision, range of passing and shooting prowess. His numbers are superb and at both Sporting and United he has delivered assists and goals by the hatful, operating from an attacking midfield role. In 2021/22 he was credited with the most assists in the Champions League, a great feat considering United exited at the Round of 16 stage.

Branislav Ivanovic

Year From To Transfer Fee
2008 Lokomotiv Moscow Chelsea £9m

Ivanovic was another Serbian hardman and like Vidic he was almost impossible to get past. A versatile defender, he mainly played at right-back for the Blues but could play in the centre too. He was a superb all-round defender, strong in the tackle, good in the air, decent going forward and a fine reader of the game. It is easy to see why a succession of Chelsea managers loved him and also why he twice made the PFA Team of the Season.

Ashley Young

Year From To Transfer Fee
2007 Watford Aston Villa £8m

Young would be sold to Man United in 2011 for around £17m, meaning that Villa got four good years out of him and a very nice profit. He won the PFA Young Player of the Season award in 2009 and at the age of 37 is still going strong for Villa. Initially an attacking forward, he scored seven times in 39 games for England, including four in seven games in 2011. He converted to a full back or wing back towards the end of his career. Oh, and a bird pooed in his mouth during a game!

Youri Tielemans

Year From To Transfer Fee
2019 Monaco Leicester City £32m

Tielemans is one of the next generation of Belgians tasked with taking over from the so-called Golden Generation. He certainly seems up to it. A silky-smooth midfielder with brilliant vision and an eye for goal, the former Monaco man was not cheap but Leicester will surely make a huge profit if (when!) they sell him to a top-six side. He was named Belgian Player of the Year in 2017 and won the Young Player award in both 2014 and 2015 – serious pedigree!